Having Faith: Giving Back in the Spirit of Imani, the Seventh Day of Kwanzaa

Having Faith: Giving Back in the Spirit of Imani, the Seventh Day of Kwanzaa

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Illustration: maybe alice (Shutterstock)

Having faith in those around us is the backbone of building community. In a year that has kicked Black people down over and over again, it is crucial that on Imani, the seventh day of Kwanzaa, we continue to build faith in the places that build up the community around us. The following places focus on providing faith, health, and upliftment to the members of the Black community, and in helping them, we help ourselves.

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African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS)

African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS)

African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) sets out to help groups and individuals build their own businesses and create livable wages. Members work with Black immigrant families in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and educate them about wealth through economic orientated activities. A large part of the organization is built on establishing partnerships and connections with neighborhood and grassroots organizations.

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SoOakland

SoOakland

Shayla Jamerson of SoOakland, a community events organization, began raising funds for Black-owned Oakland, Calif., businesses after the initial financial setbacks from COVID-19. She set a goal of $200,000 and has thus far raised over $350,000. Businesses may apply to be part of the fund and can receive anywhere between $500-$2000. Many of the issues addressed include physical damage to the buildings as well as general financial needs. All of the money raised will be distributed to Black-owned businesses.

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MY BLOCK MY HOOD MY CITY

MY BLOCK MY HOOD MY CITY

MY BLOCK MY HOOD MY CITY (MBMHMC) works with Chicago’s youth and senior citizens of color to provide them with any help and assistance they may need. The youth program consists of exposing young members of the Chicago community to opportunities and helps them understand that they don’t need to be isolated. Their senior wellness program provides access to health-related materials such as masks and hand sanitizer so they are at less of a risk of exposure.

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Black Girls Smile Inc.

Black Girls Smile Inc.

Black Girls Smile Inc. (BGS) envisions a society where Black girls and women can have an open dialogue about their mental health and are provided with the resources and access to mental health education. BGS was founded with the mission to create space for Black girls to get help and have a better understanding of their mental wellness through therapy, focus groups and individualized experiences.

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Building Black Bed-Stuy

Building Black Bed-Stuy

Building Black Bed-Stuy is an organization focusing on rebuilding Black-owned businesses in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, through uplifting Black-owned businesses and providing them with the support they need to thrive. Round one of their fundraising went towards three businesses, Life Wellness, the Watoto Free School, and the Black Power Blueprint. In their second round of fundraising, they asked the community to get involved and they nominated Little Sun People, Dwana Dance, and the Bed-Stuy Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

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The Black Youth Project

The Black Youth Project

The Black Youth Project looks at the patterns and habits of Black youth and millennials and provides them with resources to better understand their actions. Focusing on sex, art, health, and politics, the Black Youth Project aims to have an open conversation where Black youth do not feel out of place or judged for their decision making or thoughts. The Black Youth Project has created an online space for young adults to express themselves without censorship or fear of ridicule.

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PATH to Hip Hop

PATH to Hip Hop

PATH to Hip Hop is South Florida’s pioneer hip-hop education program that provides Black youth with education about hip-hop and how it can help them in their day-to-day lives. PATH works to help Black youth build confidence through expanding their understanding of creativity and works to destigmatize the negative perceptions around hip hop culture. PATH offers afterschool programs, group therapy, fellowships, and professional development.

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DISCUSSION